Hurry Up And Procrastinate
by: David Leonhardt
I've been meaning to write this column, but I keep putting it off. There always seems to be something better or more important or easier to write about.
Everybody is rushing to enter the contest to find America's Biggest Procrastinator ( http://www.AmericasBiggestProcrastinator.com ). As an expert in the field, I will help you win the contest. Even if you are not American, just tell them you you've been meaning to immigrate. That should actually win you some bonus points.
America is just teeming with procrastinators. Some delay important surgery. Some people hold off on taking courses or changing jobs. Others delay household chores. Americans delay cleaning up and filing. They put off buying a car, washing the car, selling the car, and even learning to drive the car. Some even hold off on getting born (That was me. Sorry Mom.).
If it wasn't for the last minute, nothing would get done. And many Americans have even eliminated that pesky last minute. Dr. Duit Later explains, "It's a lifestyle choice. A professional procrastinator delays walking the dog until the last minute. By then he is busy holding off the lawn mowing. He'll never get to the mowing, even in the last minute, because he spends that last minute not cleaning up after the dog. With so much to delay, the last minute never arrives."
One contestant bought over $15,000.00 of software in the past two years "to help me with my computer,80% of it is still unopened and or unused." It might help if he started by removing the computer from its packaging.
Another contestant describes how "we go to our Wal-Mart bags to find what we need because we never put them away." I laughed at that one. I thought that was pretty funny. Ha ha ha. My wife was not laughing. She pointed to the Costco boxes piled high beside the door. "But those aren't Wal-Mart bags," I protested with all the conviction of a soggy noodle.
My wife opened the fridge door. "We have soggy noodles. And soggy buns. And soggy apples. We have a soggy collection. Think it might be time to clean the fridge?" Sigh. Master procrastinators are rarely appreciated.
Procrastination has some interesting side effects. A professional procrastinator always marvels at how clean the restrooms are at service stations.
A true procrastinator never gets his Christmas tree up before Christmas. Unless it's still there from last year, of course.
A skilled procrastinator always reads her mail – but only after the postman comes up to her apartment to complain. One contestant finally emptied her mailbox to find mail from six months earlier.
A determined procrastinator goes several years without pouring his own bathwater or putting out his own garbage. After a while, the community gets involved.
No true procrastinator shovels snow. The snow will hopefully melt in a few months.
Even with talented contestants, you can win this contest if you don't try hard enough.
I thought about entering the contest myself. I delayed college graduation by several years. I have a dozen jigsaw puzzles still sealed in their boxes. We have two chandeliers to put up...someday. The baby probably needs a diaper change. Again. Or still.
I was just about to enter the contest, when I came up with an ingenious way to disqualify myself. I offered to put up part of the second prize, a copy of my book Climb Your Stairway to Heaven: the 9 habits of maximum happiness.
With me out of the race, this might finally be the contest you can win. You see, I know a little secret about all the contestants – a fatal flaw that makes every one of them vulnerable. Nobody can legitimately win this year's contest ...unless they enter next year.
Technical notes: To make this column on procrastination authentic, I attempted to withhold it. But my agent gave me "The Frown". If you ever saw The Frown, your boots would still be trembling.
So I decided to submit the column uncompleted. Surely that qualifies as procrastination. But this time my agent gave me "The Double Frown". That sent shivers down through my toenails.
I considered sending my column in one word at a time, with each letter cut from a newspaper or magazine like a painfully long ransom note. But my agent told me about her emergency "death ray" frown, so I gave up.
But wait! You can make this true procrastination by not reading any more until next year. Stop reading. If you are still reading, you are failing to procrastinate. Stop now. If you are not reading this sentence, congratulations – you are a champion procrastinator.
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